"> News & Publications | Compass Housing Services

News & Publications

Latest News

Compass Housing Services News Expand All Close All

27 Jul 2021

Digital Storytelling Workshops Huge Success

Compass Housing Services recently partnered with the City of Newcastle’s Digital Library and Beyond Bank, to host a pilot series of workshops teaching the ‘Art of Digital Storytelling’ skills to young people participating in the Grow a Star program.

Facilitated by Tim Davidson, General Manager of Virtual Extended Augmented Reality and Animation (VEARA) and Paul Predny, Managing Director of Coder’s Corner the workshops saw the students explore the theory of storytelling techniques and narrative development during hands-on classes featuring virtual reality, augmented reality and animation over a period of five weeks.

The workshops created an opportunity for students who would not usually have access to explore these emerging technologies, to develop new skills and identify future career aspirations. The course enabled students to gain experience in not only coding in C# language, 3D modelling in Blender, World Building in Unity and game design there were also opportunities to build skills in communication, project management and collaborative work.

Compass Housing’s Community Relations Manager Michelle Faithfull has recently taken on the responsibility of expanding the Grow a Star program and the workshops came about after a discussion with digital library staff.

Ms Faithfull said “We are always looking for opportunities to partner with local organisations to support young people in their academic, sporting or creative pursuits. In households where money is tight, young people often miss out on the extra-curricular activities that most would simply take for granted. These are activities that help young people to connect with their communities, and foster habits and behaviours that have lifelong benefits.”

 “The workshops were designed to produce real project outcomes and one-one-one coaching experience, with the potential for future work experience and/or mentoring opportunities with the workshop facilitators or other small businesses that provide VR and AR content for the library” she said.

Digital Library Activation Specialist, Clare Presser said “The pilot course went well. Overall, the group managed to exceed our expectations in ‘keeping up’ with the content. They were more focused than anticipated and a few of the students worked well beyond the stated parameters. The students have generated multiple projects in Unity and Blender- both industry compliant and free software. Every student completed 3D and 2D games that they could take home, tweak and share with their friends”.

The collaborative are talking about holding future workshops and are currently refining the format, with improved content and structure.

Keep Reading
07 Jul 2021

NAIDOC Week 2021 | Heal Country!


Isabell Bungie


For the first eight years of her life, Isabell lived on her grandmother's two-acre property on at Taree.  Isabelle’s grandmother purchased the land when she won the lottery. The extended family came together to build a family home and Isabell enjoyed growing up with her grandparents, parents and 12 brothers and sisters.


When Isabell was eight years old, the family was moved to the Purfleet Mission where she attended school. 

“School was good as a young child, the children were black and white and not racist, there was no difference, it was the teachers that were”, says Isabell.

"Things were different at highschool. The children were racist, and the teachers weren’t “


Isabell lived on the mission until she was 20 years-old when she moved out to live with her husband and two young sons.  At first, they lived in a caravan at the back of her parents’ home, but in 1976, the family moved into their own place in Taree.

Life was good, and the family grew! Isabell soon had six sons who got on well and enjoyed playing football in the local park with other kids. Isabell’s husband passed away in 1997 but Isabell remains in the house that they shared.  A house that is now managed by Compass Housing Services and has been home to Isabell for 45 years!


Isabell always enjoyed giving to her community. She participated in the work for the dole program which gave her the opportunity to volunteer at local schools, supporting students and teaching Indigenous arts and culture.

Her volunteer work led to an opportunity for paid work under the local Aboriginal Lands Council and with the Department of Education.

Through this work, Isabell supported generations of students for 20 years before retiring in 2009 to care for her second youngest son who has a disability.


To this day, Isabelle at 65, still volunteers her time at several local schools including Taree Primary, Taree High, Chatham Public and Chatham High. She enjoys talking about life growing up in Taree, teaching Aboriginal art, visual arts, culture, sewing and being involved in community events in her role as a respected Biripi Woman and Biripi Elder.


Keep Reading
16 Jun 2021

Business trek to grow local stars

WHAT: Inaugural Trek for the Stars to support Compass Housing Grow a Star program

WHEN: 2-6 February 2022

WHERE: Cradle Mountain, Tasmania

Hunter business people have an opportunity to trek Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain next year to support Compass Housing’s Grow a Star Program.

Forsythes Advisors Partner, Kellie Wright, is the fifth participant to sign up to trek which will raise funds for the scholarship and mentoring program for young Hunter social housing tenants and others experiencing financial disadvantage. The program helps young people to realise their academic, sporting or artistic dreams.

Kellie is using the opportunity to challenge herself, to step outside her comfort zone, while giving back to a good cause. The business owner and mother said the trek will give her an opportunity to take time out for herself, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

“I have two teenage boys who are lucky enough to be able to chase their sporting and academic dreams,” Kellie said.

“Not all children are able to do that and the Grow a Star program gives them opportunities they may not otherwise get,” she said.

“Variety is a basic human need and sometimes we forget get so caught up in our work and home life that we lose any variety in our lives.”

The inaugural fundraising trek will be led by Compass’ Events and Community Relations Manager, Michelle Faithfull, in conjunction with experienced fundraising trek company, Inspired Adventures.

Michelle said it is great to see Kellie taking up the challenge, especially given that it’s her first trek.

“We will be trekking a variety of trails around the Cradle Mountain Village area,” Michelle said.

“I’ve done these walks before, and they’re absolutely stunning,” she said.

“We’ll do, easy, short exploration walks, day-long hikes, and a couple of steep climbs up to beautiful lookouts.” 

Michelle said more than three million Australians are living in poverty, including one in six children.

“Poverty can seem insurmountable, but sometimes, all that kids with talent need is a chance to break the cycle of disadvantage.”

“Grow a Star helps young people to overcome the financial or generational obstacles that are preventing them from being a star.

“We remove barriers by funding things such as specialist lessons or coaching, equipment or clothing, sports club registration and representative fees, some travel expenses, excursions, elective school subjects, music or dance lessons, or musical instruments.”

Michelle is calling on other business leaders or teams to take part in the trek. She hopes to raise a minimum of $20,000.

“These treks are life-changing and I can guarantee Kellie and other participants will come away with a whole new perspective on life.”

The five-day trek will run from February 2 to 6, 2022. The travel cost is $2,999 which includes meals, accommodation, a local guide and national park fees. There is a $3,000 fundraising requirement per participant.

People can sign up to the trek at https://events.inspiredadventures.com.au/events/growastar-tasmania-2022/

Iconic Cradle Mountain is in the pristine Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park in the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. At 1,545 metres above sea level, it is the sixth-highest mountain in Tasmania. It is known for its exceptional natural beauty, breath-taking landscapes, and abundant wildlife.

Compass Housing established the Grow a Star program in 2012. It has assisted more than 400 young people to pursue their academic, artistic, and sporting goals at grassroots and representative levels.


Keep Reading
24 May 2021

Compass Real Estate Engagement Workshops

As part of our Real Estate Engagement Program, Compass Housing Services are hosting a series of workshops in the Hunter and Central Coast,
specifically designed to:

  • support property managers to enhance their skills and knowledge of the community services sector so we can put in place early intervention strategies and work together to sustain tenancies.
  • provide Real Estate Institute NSW training on resilience and emotional intelligence
  • provide a networking opportunity over lunch

These workshops provide 3-hour elective training for CPD by the Real Estate Institute NSW. *FOR ELIGIBLE ATTENDEES.

Morning tea and lunch supplied.


Wednesday 26 May 2021
The Bradford Hotel 358 New England Hwy Rutherford NSW
Tumbi Umbi

Wednesday 23 June 2021
Mingara Recreation Club 12-14 Mingara Drive, Tumbi Umbi NSW

RSVP TO larissab@compasshousing.org

Keep Reading
20 May 2021

Digital Storytelling Workshops

City of Newcastle’s Digital Library is hosting a series of workshops to teach local young people skills to share stories through modern mediums like virtual reality, augmented reality, and animation. 

Delivered through a partnership with Newcastle Libraries and Compass Housing’s Grow a Star program, the workshops give students the chance to explore these emerging technologies, develop new skills, and express themselves. 

The five-week program explores the theory of storytelling techniques and narrative development during hands-on classes which will equip students with the technical skills to create their own interactive and immersive worlds. 

Councillor Carol Duncan said the Digital Storytelling workshops encourage students to harness their creativity and imagination while sharing their experiences through modern story telling techniques. 

“The Grow a Star scholarship program provides young people living in social housing with opportunities that they may not normally have access to,” Cr Duncan said. 

“The workshops are an excellent way to increase digital literacy through creative digital technologies and ‘world building’ and, at the completion of the course, the students will have a portfolio that will allow them to pursue work experience and tertiary education opportunities.” 

“The young participants will also benefit from mentoring and will develop communication and teamwork skills by working together in small groups.” 

City of Newcastle’s Manager of Libraries and Learning Suzie Gately said the workshops are a perfect fit for the Digital Library which is home to a variety of technologies and tools that modernise story telling.  

“Immersive storytelling through innovative video is a powerful tool that can truly bring our imagination to life,” Ms Gately said.    

“At the end of this program we look forward to showcasing the students’ unique and creative stories on the Digital Library’s interactive story wall for our community to enjoy.” 

The program starts on 20 May and runs until 17 June involving 16 young people. 

Compass Housing’s Grow a Star program is a youth mentoring and scholarship program that helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds overcome the financial or generational  obstacles that are preventing them from following their dreams. For more information visit www.growastar.org



Keep Reading
Accessibility ×
Adjust the interface to make it easier to use for different conditions.
This renders the document in high contrast mode.
This renders the document as white on black
This can help those with trouble processing rapid screen movements.
This loads a font easier to read for people with dyslexia.